Seacoast Mental Health Center

modern and secure network that protects confidential data for healthcare organizationSeacoast wanted a modern and secure network to protect its confidential healthcare data and allowed its IT team to move away from daily IT tasks and focus on innovation.


Founded in 1963 to address the mental healthcare needs of the New Hampshire Seacoast, Seacoast Mental Health Center (SMHC) is one of ten state-designated community mental health centers in New Hampshire.  SMHC is mandated to provide evaluations to children, adolescents and families, the elderly, and the severely and persistently mentally ill regardless of their ability to pay.


As a healthcare organization with a limited Information Technology (IT) budget, and a small IT staff, Seacoast Mental Health’s Chief Information Officer, Chris Drew, was experiencing some IT challenges. Drew wanted to ensure that SMHC was staying current with the latest technologies while also keeping his network secure and compliant with healthcare regulations.

With two facilities in Portsmouth and Exeter, New Hampshire and 150 end-users, it was important for SMHC to ensure their network was reliable while also enhancing the centers’ information technology security. Stringent healthcare requirements (HIPAA) continue to challenge organizations from a compliance perspective and with a small IT staff, it becomes even more the case.

Drew had two objectives he wanted to accomplish with an IT partner:

  1. the need for Seacoast’s internal team to be focused more strategically, and
  2. the network to work seamlessly and without interruption.

“Staying up to date with technology and all of its changes is a challenge,” said Drew, “I needed an organization that I could trust when needed.”


As a member of the Board of Director’s for another community healthcare group, Drew heard about Systems Engineering from other board members. “The unsolicited reference was very valuable,” mentioned Drew. “It told me that the company’s reputation preceded them and that it was a company I wanted to work with.”

When Drew began speaking with Systems Engineering, the one concern he had was whether or not he could afford the solutions his organization was required to have to meet HIPAA compliance. For that reason, he put the services out to bid to see how Systems Engineering would compete with others within the region. Systems Engineering worked with its strategic partners to ensure SMHC would be able to capitalize on non-profit discounting as well as any other partner programs, thus allowing him to opt for the solutions his organization deemed necessary and affordable.

“Their pricing was competitive when sent out to bid. It’s the little, but important things that build trust in a partner relationship. Systems Engineering supplies the expertise and knowledge that we don’t have as a small shop,” explained Drew.


Drew officially began working with Systems Engineering to prioritize the goals he needed to accomplish: a streamlined, available, and secure network. With confidential patient information at stake in a world where cyberattacks occur daily, it was imperative to have multiple technologies to secure his network. SMHC now has:

  • Network monitoring which administers server patching as well as network device monitoring;
  • A Security Information & Event Management (SIEM) solution which detects and responds to network events and assists with HIPAA compliance; and
  • A Service Response Plan which covers the cost of unexpected service events including subsequent labor and/or hardware components.
  • In addition to those solutions, Drew migrated to Microsoft Office 365 to simplify email administration and costs while providing all end-users with email access from anywhere and on any device.

“It’s great to have the monitoring and patching done seamlessly. I used to have a resource who would do just that, but now he’s able to concentrate on more strategic initiatives. It’s a peace of mind knowing that the right patches are taking place when they should take place,” stated Drew.

When speaking about the various projects with which Drew has engaged Systems Engineering,” he said, “I get continuity even if switching from one person to another. No matter who I work with, everything is on time, on budget, and the service is above and beyond. What I appreciate most about the relationship is that it’s a partnership; it’s not just them telling me what I need to buy from them.”

As a result of the relationship with Systems Engineering, the IT team at Seacoast has been able to focus on long-term strategy while leaving the daily IT issues of the past, in the past.